Sunday, March 2, 2008

Let Them Eat (Orange Cornmeal) Cake!

I was home with a nasty cold last week, feeling like crap and fanning the channels of daytime TV looking for anything that wasn't a soap opera or a talk show, when I stumbled across a PBS show called "Everyday Baking." John Barricelli was making a bunch of different cakes and, because we have a bumper crop of oranges just now, this one really caught my attention.

Using olive oil in the recipe and white wine, as well as cornmeal and orange zest, juice and segments, it certainly seemed interesting. But, I like food to be delicious, not just interesting!

I made the cake today; it was easy to make and exceeded my hopes, so I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Orange Cornmeal Cake

1 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil, plus a little more for the pan
waxed paper or parchment paper (I used parchment)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dry white wine (or orange juice - I used the orange juice - you'll need about three large oranges to get 1/2 cup of juice, if you use fresh as I did)
1+1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of one orange
Orange segments for serving (optional, but we loved them!)

Preheat the oven to 375. Brush bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan with oil; line bottom of pan with a round of wax or parchment paper; brush paper with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and wine (or juice) until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest; whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup of sugar (topping will be thick and, actually, I didn't use as much as this). Bake until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, Run a knife around the edge of the cake, invert cake gently onto a plate, and remove parchment paper. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, cut the top and bottom off the oranges, then carefully cut off the rind, exposing the segments. Cut between the membranes to release segments into a bowl and squeeze what's left to get all the juice. You'll probably use about 1 orange for every two pieces of cake. With each wedge of cake, spoon over some orange segments and juice. The cake is actually quite delicious by itself, but even better with the fresh orange segments topping it.

Cake serves 8. Prep time 10 minutes. Total time 1 hour and 10 minutes.


5 Comments:

Blogger cookiecrumb said...

(good lord, how many oranges did we give you?)

Sunday, March 02, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, believe it or not, we still have five! But, this may be my last orange post unless you've got more fruit on your tree!

Sunday, March 02, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

This sounds like Basque cornmeal cake but your version sounds a lot more delicious than the rather dry and heavy version I ate once. All this "viva la orange" is making me think about buying oranges in the Mission where they are not so expensive and doing some experimenting.

Sunday, March 02, 2008  
Blogger Humanclone said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, March 02, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

NamasteNancy, yes, it's a light cake and the only truly sweet part is the sugar topping. I think one could experiement with leaving that off but I did enjoy the crunch of the sugar as counterpoint to the moist cake.

Monday, March 03, 2008  

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